Get the Look: Mid-Century Modern Design Style

Living room with mid-century modern decorating style, white walls, concrete fireplace, mid-century modern furniture
Mid-century modern decorating has a unique simplicity that’s drawing an ever-widening fan base. Farmhouse-loving Joanna even explored the look for one of her makeovers on Fixer Upper, and it’s rumored to be one of their most popular episodes.

If you’re drawn to this look, too, and are looking for ways to incorporate it into your home, here are some ideas:

Blur the lines.

Mid-century homes were designed with open floor plans, expansive windows, and sliding doors to integrate nature and blur the lines between inside and out.

Mid-century modern living room with expansive windows that blur the lines between inside and out

You may not be ready to rip out walls or add more windows, but here are four ways to feel more connected to the outside:

1) strategically add mirrors in ways that reflect the light and outdoors, 2) minimize or eliminate window treatments, 3) add modern plants, and 4) bring in unexpected natural elements.

Mid-century furniture reinterpreted.

The unique furniture style of the mid-century modern era is obviously key to getting this look.  And while there are those mid-century lovers who will scour the internet for months in search of a vintage 1950’s sofa, most of us like something fresh and new.

Luckily, there are plenty of new furniture options  that have all of the original sleek simplicity and style, reinterpreted for today.
Mid-century modern design style - living room with a fun mix of bold color and geometric pattern
Gemstone Living Room

Color and graphic patterns.

Graphic patterns are a staple of this style and can be incorporated in large ways like wallpaper, flooring, and stair railings or in simpler ways like an accent chair, artwork, or pillows.

And while neutrals are perfectly acceptable, mid-century modern style is perfect for experimenting with bold, fun color choices.

Those legs.

One of my favorite design details of the mid-century modern decorating style is definitely the legs.  Tapered, rounded, splayed, hairpin…  They’re interesting, sometimes quirky, and they add a unique element to any furniture piece.

Go all out like the dining space below, or use them in a smaller dose like this.
Mid-century modern decorating - dining furniture with rounded, tapered, splayed, and hairpin legs
Mid-Century Inspired Dining Furniture

{The splayed leg style was an attempt by furniture designers to distinguish their designs from the rigid creations of the Modernists — they gave an almost languid appearance that reflected the relaxed mood of the time. source: Judith Miller}

Statement lighting.

The space age and science were big influences on the lighting design of this era, and there was no lack of creativity.  Some fixtures were more like works of art.

And speaking of A.R.T., we love they way they used a Sputnik chandelier to make a dramatic statement in this space featuring the Williamsburg dining collection.
Mid-century modern design style dining room with sputnik chandelier
Epicenters Williamsburg Dining

Keep it simple.

You won’t find a lot of frills, fluff, or crazy embellishments in the mid-century modern decorating. Instead, opt for clean lines and simplicity.

mid-century modern dining room storage
American Retrospective Sideboard

Mix it up.

If you like parts of this style, but the entire look isn’t really “you”, you can improvise.

Create a more transitional space by incorporating a sofa and chair with mid-century leanings and then finish off the room in your preferred style.   Or just add one or two mid-century modern inspired pieces, like a statement light or an accent chair, to put a unique spin on your space.

More design style inspiration.

If you like design style inspiration and enjoy tips on getting a variety of looks, you’ll like our HOW TO DECORATE page!

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